“Should a Minister Officiate at the Weddings of Unbelievers?” by Russell Moore

A stern and helpful read.  Go here.

A Guest Post by Matt Click: “The Tweeting God and a Petitioning People”

The following is a brief post on the imperative and privilege of prayer based on the indicative of the existence, Sovereign nature and Fatherly character of God; while given a contemporary flair, it speaks to a most blessed activity: prayer – arguably the most important aspect of the sweetest communion with the living God, our Father in Christ Jesus.  May you be blessed by what you read, even as I have been blessed by the prayerfulness and consequent power of the man who wrote it – dear brother, Matt Click.

 

The Tweeting God and a Petitioning People 

 

If you listen closely, you can almost hear the tweets.

Beyond the Twitter outbreak in Iran and past the daily hoopla among celebrities in L.A., you’ll notice a different kind of happening. But you won’t catch it on CNN or learn of it from “Inside Edition.” 

Instead, you’ll discover it when you open your Bible. 

If God were on Twitter, what would he be doing right now? And how would this impact your prayer life—and everything else? 

Would it blow your mind to know that—if you are in Jesus Christ—God is working for your good right at this very moment? All of your pain and all the adversity is not an accident. God is not silent. Nor is he distant. Rather, he is personally and providentially involved in all of your endeavors. He is acting on behalf of those who wait on him. 

Shall such a sweet tweet not drive you to pray more fervently, more often, and with more holy zeal?

Would it encourage you to know that your heavenly Father is advancing Christ’s kingdom from sea to shining sea? He is filling the earth with his glory. He will not be stopped. No one can stay his hand. He is invincible. And the gates of hell shall not overcome! 

Shall such a sweet tweet not send you to your knees, as you wrestle on behalf of lost friends and family and even entire nations? 

Would it bless your soul to know that the Lord of the universe is singing over you with loud singing and quieting you with his love? He is guiding his sheep and protecting them and watching over them day and night. He does not slumber. Nor does he grow weary. 

Shall such a sweet tweet not propel you into the throne room of heaven and into the Master’s arms? Will you not cast off all worries and embrace him who spared not his own Son? 

Surely such tweets will not go unnoticed. And may his following vastly increase. 

“The Husband as Prophet, Priest, and King,” by Bob Lepine

An insightful read.  Go here.

“Easily Edified”

Justin Taylor had some thoughts in this phrase inherited from Harold Best and cited by Chip Stam in their discussion on “Worship and Music.”  Go here for his edifying thoughts.

An Outline of “Why is God a Stranger in the Land?” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“O you hope of Israel, its savior in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?  Why should you be like a man confused, like a mighty warrior who cannot save?  Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not leave us,” Jeremiah 14:8-9.

I offer M’Cheyne’s outline because of a burden that matches this introductory sentence of his: “In most parts of our land, it is to be feared that God is a stranger, and like a wayfaring man who turneth aside to tarry for a night.”  And while I rejoice in the knowledge and report of God’s extravagant and wonderous works all over the world, and too, in this country, yet still, should we not desire more, pray for more, plead for more conversions in our land – a land that is becoming more and more hardened, in its ignorance, being estranged from God.  M’Cheyne addresses the burden well; I give it to you in outline form:

Evidences that God is a stranger in the land:

1.  “How few conversions are there in the midst of us!”  2.  “How much deadness there is among true Christians!”  3.  “How great is the boldness of sinners in sin!”  Question: “What are the reasons why God is such a stranger in the land?”

First, “In ministers. – Let us begin with those who bear the vessels of the sanctuary:”

1.  “It is to be feared there is much unfaithful preaching to the unconverted . . . his sermons are not chiefly occupied with their case.  All the words of men and angels cannot describe the dreadfulness of being Christless. . .”  2.  “It is to be feared there is much unfaithfulness in setting forth Christ as a refuge for sinners.”

Second, “In Christian people.”

1.  “In regard to the Word of God.  There seems little thirst for hearing the word of God among Christians now.”  2.  “In regard to prayer.  There is much ploughing and much sowing (business), but very little harrowing in of the seed by prayer. (M’Cheyne continues, “God and your conscience are witnesses how little you pray.  You know you would be men of power if you were men of prayer, and yet ye will not pray.  Unstable as water, you do not excel.  Luther set apart his three best hours for prayer.  How few Luthers we have now!  John Welsh spent seven hours a day in prayer.  How few Welshes we have now! . . . It is to be feared there is little intercession among Christians now . . . God and your consciences are witnesses how little you intercede for your children, your servants, your neighbors, the Church of your fathers, and the wicked on every side of you, – how little you pray for ministers, for the gift of the Spirit, for the conversion of the world, – how selfish you are even in your prayers! . . . It is to be feared there is little union in prayer.”)

Third, “In unconverted souls:”

1.  “Sinners in our day have great insensibility as to their lost condition.”  2.  “Sinners in our day have great insensibility as to their need of Jesus Christ.”  3.  “There has been much resisting of the Spirit in our day.”

Concluding Plea:

“Come, then, and let every believer, and above all, every minister stir up his heart to lay hold on God and cry, ‘O the hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldst Thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night?'”

The God-Centeredness of Joseph

In a recent reading of Genesis 37-50, I noticed that Joseph lived with a relentless God-centeredness.  The following are some of the passages and related themes where the Israelite hero exhibited his godly worldview – a worldview, an entrancement we should pray to have, having now more fully seen the glory of this God in the face of Jesus Christ, –  

The Ultimate Moral Reality: Genesis 39:9, “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” 

The God of Interpretation: Genesis 40:8 (cf. 41:16), “They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God?

The God of Revelation: Genesis 41:25 (cf. 41:28), “Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do.”

The God of Predetermination and Providence: Genesis 41:32, “And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about.”

The God of Greatest Blessing: Genesis 41:51, 52, “Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house. . . The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

The Epicenter of Our Affections and Practice: Genesis 42:18, “On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God”

The God of Grace: Genesis 43:23, “And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!”

The God of Preservation, Promise, and Salvation: Genesis 45:5, 7-8 (cf. 50:24-25), “And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. . . And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. . . So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

The God Who Grants Conception: Genesis 48:9, “Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.”

The God of Moral Judgment: Genesis 50:19, “But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?”

God in Control, of Greater Purpose, for the Nations (see His saving plan, Acts 2:23): Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[1] should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Richard Baxter on Pastoral Application of Family Ministry

Get masters of families to do their duty, and they will not only spare you a great 

deal of labor, but will much further the success of your labors. … You are not 

likely to see any general reformation, till you procure family reformation. Some 

little religion there may be, here and there; but while it is confined to single 

persons, and is not promoted in families, it will not prosper, nor promise much 

future increase.